Jacopo Robusti, called Jacopo Tintoretto (Venice 1518-1594) Portrait of the Da [...]Estimation : Premium uniquement
Description du lot 42
Jacopo Robusti, called Jacopo Tintoretto (Venice 1518-1594) Portrait of the Da Mosto-(?) Costanzo Family with God the Father above, inscribed with the family's coats-of-arms upper right, oil on canvas, 193 x 259 cm, framed ÜBERLANGTEXT
said to have been purchased from a house in San Silvestro, Venice, by the Venetian art dealer Francesco Pajaro or Passaro, 19th Century;
acquired from the above by George Augustus Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck, PC JP (1821–1891);
his sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 11 July 1891, lot 621 (as Tintoretto);
Collection of J. Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913), New York/London;
thence by descent;
Collection of Mrs. Walter Hayes Burns (1844–1919), North Mymms Park, Hertfordshire;
sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 26 June 1959, lot 27;
with Salocchi, Florence, March 1962;
sale, Finarte, Milan, 15 May 1962, lot 35 (as Jacopo Robusti, detto il Tintoretto);
with Gilberto Algranti, Milan, 1969;
Private European collection
London, Royal Academy of Arts, Exhibition of the Works of the Old Masters, together with Works of Deceased Masters of the British School, 1872, p. 13, no. 107 (as Jacopo Rubusti, called Tintoretto)
H. Thode, Tintoretto. Mit 109 Abbildungen nach den Original-Gemälden, Bielefeld/Leipzig 1901, p. 80 (attribution to Jacopo Tintoretto ‘unlikely’);
Elogio dell’asta, in: Arte figurativa. Rivista internazionale di arte antica e moderna, antiquariato, arredamento, vol. X, no. 57, May – June 1962, illustrated (detail) p. 49 (as Jacopo Robusti detto il Tintoretto);
S. Coradeschi, Una casa fatta per vivere con decoro. L’abitazione di Radames Nocentini (Sasso Marconi, Bologna), in: Arte figurativa. Rivista internazionale di arte antica e moderna, antiquariato, arredamento, Milan, March 1965, illustrated p. 74, pp. 71, 73-75 (as Tintoretto);
P. Rossi, R. Pallucchini, Jacopo Tintoretto. I ritratti, Venice 1974, pp. 132-133, fig. 123 (as Jacopo Tintoretto);
R. Pallucchini, Profilo del Tintoretto, in: R. Pallucchini, P. Rossi, Tintoretto. Le opere sacre e profane, Milan 1982, vol. I, p. 80 (as Jacopo Tintoretto);
G. M. Pilo, Postilla a Jacopo Tintoretto, in: Arte Documento, 5, 1991, pp. 128, 130, 145, note 112–116 (as Jacopo Tintoretto);
P. Rossi, I ritratti di Jacopo Tintoretto, in: Jacopo Tintoretto. Ritratti, exhibition catalogue, Milan 1994, p. 28, ill., 37 note 61-62 (as Jacopo Tintoretto);
W. R. Rearick, Reflections on Tintoretto as a Portraitist, in: Artibus et Historiae, 1995, vol. 16, no. 31, p. 67, note 28 (attributed to Domenico Tintoretto);
S. J. Hansbauer, Das oberitalienische Familienporträt in der Kunst der Renaissance. Studien zu den Anfängen, zur Verbreitung und Bedeutung einer Bildgattung, diss. ms., Würzburg 2004, mentioned on p. 259, note 547 (as Jacopo Tintoretto);
S. Marinelli, Tintoretto 2019, in: S. Marinelli (ed.), Aldèbaran. Storia dell’Arte V, Verona 2019, pp. 33-48, fig. 6 (attribution to Jacopo Tintoretto rejected);
E. Bordignon Favero, Jacopo Tintoretto. Sul ritratto di famiglia Costanzo, in: Arte Documento, 35, Venice 2019, pp. 66-69 (as Jacopo Tintoretto)
We are grateful to Giorgio Fossaluzza for his help in researching and cataloguing this lot.
The subject of this painting is a family group, a husband and wife standing with their two young sons in the ‘portego’ of their Venetian palazzo. Through the open window is a vision of God the Father who appears through golden clouds, his arms raised in blessing the family.
The details of the interior space reflect the elevated status of the sitters: the wall seats to the right, upholstered in precious ‘Cordoba leather’, which was produced in Venice, and the shields with the coats-of-arms of the family, elaborately framed amongst gilded fronds in ‘Sansovino’ style frames, and surmounted by plumed helmets (the first shield shows a gold rampant leopard or dolce, the second, six silver human ribs in fascae on an azure ground beneath a red line, surmounted by a gold charging lion on a blue field).
Particular attention is given to dress. The gentleman is elegantly clothed in sober colours, while his wife and children are in lavish, ostentatious garments. The husband wears a buttoned black ‘giuppone’ or jerkin, ‘braghesse’ or knee-breaches in Sevillian style and black stockings held by garters. Hung over his shoulders, he wears a rich ‘gabano’ or robe ornamented at the sleeves and lined with lynx fur, and around his waist he wears a belt and sword. His wife is dressed in a brown velvet gown, embroidered with floral motifs in gold-thread with pearls. Her bodice has an open neck, ornamented by a lace ruff, while the cuffs of her sleeves follow the ‘brioni’ fashion. The child in her arms wears a ‘giuppone color ormesino’ or jerkin of light Ormuz silk with golden trimmings and fastenings, with a fur collar and gold embroidered silk sleeves. The older child wears a buttoned, gold embroidered jerkin with Seville style knee-breaches and brown stockings.
The provenance of the painting is in part well documented. It was in the collection of George Augustus Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck M.P. (1821–1891), the only son of Lord Frederick William Cavendish-Bentinck, who was the fourth son of the Third Duke of Portland. In his will, Cavendish-Bentinck left instructions for the sale of his extensive art collection at auction in July 1891. The Italian paintings in the collection, and particularly those of the Venetian school, were by the leading masters including Titian, Veronese, Bordon, Tiepolo, Canaletto and Longhi, and no fewer that thirteen works by Tintoretto were listed in the sale catalogue. Many of these paintings are now held in important public collections in Europe and the United States.
The present work was listed in the sale as A Venetian Gentleman and Lady, Child and Page and sold for the sum of £168. Mills at Christie, Manson & Woods in 1891 (see provenance). The catalogue specified that the work was ‘Purchased at a house of St. Silvestro, Venice, upon the information of Pajaro’. Cavendish-Bentinck was a frequent visitor to Venice and, through the mediation of well-known local dealers, had direct access to private collections there. It is known that the antiquarian, Francesco Pajaro, introduced him to his holdings of paintings and antiquities from Palazzo Sanudi ai Tolentini (J. Lecompte, Venise, ou Coup-d’oeil littéraire, artistique, historique, poétique et pittoresque, sur le monuments et le curiosités de cette cité, Paris 1844, p. 620). However, it is not possible to secure a reliable identification of the family in the parish of San Silvestro a Rialto which last owned the painting in Venice, or even a definite date of purchase. In the Christie’s catalogue of 1891, the painting is listed as having been included in the Winter Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts of 1872 (Exhibition of the old Masters, together with Works of deceased Masters of the British School, Third Year, London 1872, p. 13, no. 107). Therefore it is possible to assume that it was bought in Venice before this date.
Recent critical studies of this work do not appear to have taken the above information into account but have taken the publication of this painting by Henry Thode (see literature) as their starting point. Thode distinguished autograph works from those of uncertain authorship in his study of Tintoretto’s group portraits, the Cavendish-Bentinck painting falling into the latter category. Thode provide identification of one of the coats-of-arms as that of the Costanzo family.
After 1901, the painting was documented in the collection of Mrs. Walter Hayes Burns (1844-1919), neé Mary Lyman Morgan, who was the sister of J. Pierpont Morgan, of North Mymms Park, Hertfordshire, in whose sale catalogue it appeared in 1959 (see provenance). This is confirmed in a note by Roberto Longhi on the back of a photograph of the painting (Florence, Fondazione Roberto Longhi, fototeca no. 0830296), brought to light by Paolo Benassai, to which it is added, that the painting was with the dealer Giovanni Salocchi of Florence in 1962 (‘Salocchi: March 1962 / Tintoretto / c. 1570’).
The painting next appeared in auction at Finarte, Milan in 1962 as Ritratto di famiglia [Family portrait] where it featured as a temporarily imported work (it has also erroneously been identified as auctioned at Finarte, 24 November 1965, lot 19, see P. Rossi, in literature, 1974, p. 132).
At the time of the sale, the stylistic significance of the painting was recognised by the scholar Roberto Longhi, in a document dated 20 March 1962 and his analysis was summarised in the catalogue (Longhi’s original text is reproduced in S. Coradeschi, Una casa fatta per vivere con decoro. L’abitazione di Radames Nocentini [Sasso Marconi, Bologna], in: Arte figurativa, March 1965, p. 74; E. Bordignon Favero, Jacopo Tintoretto. Sul ritratto di famiglia Costanzo, in: Arte Documento, 35, 2019, p. 67 fig. 2). Longhi advanced a date between 1570 and 1575 for the painting, while in an autograph note on the back of the painting he suggested a date between 1560 and 1570. Significantly Roberto Longhi is known to have had a somewhat sceptical view of works purporting to be by Tintoretto, however in the case of the present painting he unusually expressed an entirely positive opinion, offering an interpretation of the work and suggesting that it was ‘commissioned of the artist in memory of the happy healing, by divine grace, of the young son presented by the mother to her husband’ [‘commissionato all’artista a ricordo della felice guarigione, per grazia divina, del figlioletto che la consorte porge al marito’]. On the same occasion Longhi highlighted the identification of the coats-of-arms, which had been provided by specialists of Venetian heraldry as being those of the Da Mosto and Costanzo families.
The painting is listed as an autograph work by Tintoretto by Paola Rossi (see P. Rossi, Jacopo Tintoretto, vol. I, Venice 1974, pp. 132-133, fig. 123) who dates the work to 1555-1565. This is reaffirmed by Pallucchini (see literature) who describes it is ‘a spectacular example of a family portrait’ [‘un esempio spettacolare di ritratto di famiglia’] which should be interpreted according to Longhi’s analysis. The painting should be regarded as a votive portrait, made in thanks for a Grace received. Thereby ‘in the everyday reality, formulated with prosaic normality, Divine Will intervenes, through the expression of violent light’ [‘nella realtà quotidiana, formulata con tanta prosaica naturalezza, s’inserisce la volontà divina, sentita nella violenza della luce’].
The identification of the subjects in this most unusual work is clearly of great interest, however, despite extensive research, it has not been possible to reach a firm conclusion. Giuseppe Maria Pilo (see literature) who dates the work to 1550, reported that the genealogical trees of Venetian families reconstructed at various times by specialist scholars offer no mention of a marriage between a Da Mosto and a Costanzo. Elia Bordignon Favero (see literature) also drew no conclusion in a more recent study, offering only the two daughters of Scipione Costanzo (who was the nephew of Tuzio Constanzo who commissioned the Castelfranco altarpiece from Giorgione) as possible sitters.
The absence of any documentary evidence for an alliance between these two families can now be confirmed, following a revised search of the genealogical repertoires of Barbaro-Tasca and Cappellari Vivaro. It should be noted however, that the Da Mosto family was listed in the Libro d’oro of Venetian patricians among the so-called ‘Case nuove’. The Costanzo family however belonged to the nobility and is therefore listed among the citizen families by Cappellari Vivaro (see G. A. Capellari Vivaro, Campidoglio Veneto, Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, ms. It. VII, 17 , sec. XVIII, vol. I, fol. 346v), with several members listed for the years of interest, as recorded a few years later in the list of Cittadini Veneziani of Tassini (see G. Tassini, Cittadini veneziani, famiglie cittadine originarie dalla C alla F, Venice, Biblioteca del Museo Correr, ms. P.D. c 4/2, sec. XIX, f. 125). It should be reaffirmed that there are no doubts as regards the coat-of-arms of the Costanzo. Moreover, it should be recalled that Cappellari Vivaro (see G. A. Capellari Vivaro, Ibid., vol. III, fol. 143r-146r) in furnishing the Da Mosto family trees, specifies that Zaccaria di Marco, was ‘the first to alter the ancient arms of the family. Indeed, the first and most ancient (…) is quartered gold and azure, the second had a silver field with a rampant Dolce of chequered gold and azure, which at times was a leopard’ [‘il primo che alterò l’arme antica della famiglia. Infatti la prima e più antica (…) è quadripartita d’oro e d’azzurro, la seconda fu in campo d’argento una Dolce rampante, scacchiato d’oro e d’azzurro, che a volte fu un leopardo’] – just as depicted in the present portrait. It should be noted however, that the ‘Dolce rampante’, the mythical panther, with its many variants, was the emblem not only of the Da Mosto, but also of many Venetian patrician families and others.
A further, thorough archival survey, might provide a closer identification, despite the numerous members of the Da Mosto family, of the individual who was married to a noble woman from the house of Costanzo.
In this regard it should be noted that ‘le Dolze’, the panther, also appears in the coat-of-arms of the Paduan family of Papafava, but usually also includes a cart, emblematic of the people of Carrara. It should be noted that Isabella Costanzo, the daughter of Scipione was married to Guidantonio Onigo in 1564 with whom she had a son, Lionello (see Codice Costanzo [Liber instrumentorum Clariss[imi] Equitis Dn. Tutii de Constantio], Venice, Archivio di Stato, Miscellanea Codici II, Diversi n. 1, ms. sec. XV-XVI., c. 95v; see E. Bordignion Favero, Ibid., 2019, pp. 67, 69, notes 10, 11). After she was widowed, she married Roberto Papafava fu Marsilio, and from this second union in 1575, a son, Scipione was born. This family circumstance could, at first glance, correspond to the group represented in the present painting. The argument against this appealing solution as to the identity of the subjects of this painting however, is the fact that Roberto Papafava (the elder son of Isabella) would only have been about twenty-five years old in 1575 and is therefore unlikely to be the apparently mature, middle aged husband portrayed in this painting.
A second entirely hypothetical possibility as to their identity may be advanced, whereby the child in the centre of the painting could be identified as the couple’s son Bonifacio, born in 1588, who would become the most famous member of the family. The father’s age would correlate well with this solution; however, as mentioned, documentary records remain necessary to arrive at conclusive results.
In the process, currently underway, of revising the catalogue of Tintoretto (see R. Echols, F. Ilchman, Toward a New Tintoretto Catalogue, with a Checklist of Revised Attributions and a New Chronology, in: Jacopo Tintoretto. Actas del Congreso Internacional Jacopo Tintoretto, proceedings of the Symposium Jacopo Tintoretto, Madrid, Museo del Prado, 26 and 27 February 2007, Madrid 2009, pp. 91-150), Rearick attributes the present painting to Domenico Tintoretto with the later date pushed back to 1592-94 (see literature). Most recently the autograph status of the painting, described as ‘location unknown’, was rejected by Sergio Marinelli (see literature) who assigns responsibility to Longhi for the invalid attribution.
However, it should be noted that until now, during many years of obscurity, the painting has been discussed by scholars largely without direct access to the work, on the basis of photographs, often of poor quality. The reappearance of this painting has allowed for a proper re-evaluation, with the aid of diagnostic studies conducted by Gianluca Poldi.
It is worth mentioning that the motif of the window, as seen in this composition, was repeated in a considerable number of portraits painted by Tintoretto, in about thirty paintings. The presence of a landscape or a seaport, or of an event such as a battle, seen through such windows, was intended as memorial, or recording, of the life of the individual represented (see J. Koering, La fiction du portrait. Patriciens et patriciennes en réprésentation, in: Titien, Tintoret, Véronèse: rivalités à Venise, 1540-1600, exhibition catalogue, Paris 2009, pp. 172-177). In the present work, the inclusion of God the Father apparently represents the desire to express the gratitude felt and shared by the couple for the grace received regarding their child. This intimate desire is manifested and made public in this composition.
Owing to the scale of the painting, and the fact that it depicts the group within a domestic setting, it can be surmised that the work was intended for a place within a private home, as a votive offering, as has been discussed, but also as a representation of the pride of the family. In this painting, by bringing a sacred apparition into a prosaic, domestic setting, Tintoretto is employing a device usually reserved for official portraits in which the presence of a sacred figure is used to confirm the authority of a Doge or magistrate or the like.
The present painting can be compared to the Madonna and Child with Doge Alvise Mocenigo, the Dogaressa Loredana and their family in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, as well as to the painting in which the intervention of studio is more apparent, the Madonna and Child with a Bishop Saint and Saint Lawrence that appear to a group of children in the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh. In the latter work, the robes of the lady Costanzo in the present painting, as well as for the features of her children can be compared; while a useful comparison for the features of her husband called Da Mosto (possibly Papafava) may be found in various portraits of Doge Mocenigo who held the ducal post from 1570 to 1577, including one in the Galleria dell’Accademia Venice. Additionally, the portraits of Doge Sebastiano Venier (see W. R. Rearick, Ibid., 1995, p. 62) may serve for comparison: the full-length version with a page, now in a private collection.
Other comparable paintings include the Portrait of Battista Morosini in the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice; the Portrait of an Old Man in the Collezioni Comunali d’Arte, Bologna; the Portrait of a Gentleman aged sixty in the Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, Brescia (see P. Rossi, in literature, 1994, cat. no. 36; see P. Rossi, in literature, 1974, figg. 171, 172; see G. Fossaluzza, in: Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, catalogo delle opere, secoli XII-XVI, ed. by M. Bona Castellotti, E. Lucchesi Ragni, R. D’Adda, Venice 2014, pp. 403-404, cat. no. 229).
It has been suggested that the most likely date for the present painting is that formerly advanced by Roberto Longhi, of around 1570-1575. As already mentioned, this is the period in Tintoretto’s work in which the intervention of his studio is to be expected. It is therefore possible to reaffirm the attribution to Jacopo Tintoretto, after taking into account the artist’s practice in the latter stage of his career, of working with a supporting studio which would have played a part in the execution of this painting. The quality of the work is apparent, and its composition is most unusual. It should be regarded as ‘experimental’ within the catalogue of Tintoretto’s portraiture, as has been observed by both Longhi and Pallucchini.
Technical analysis by Gianluca Poldi:
IR reflectographic images show traces of an outline underdrawing made with a brush under some borders of the figures. The page on the right was painted over the floor and the shelf / seat of the background already outlined, as well as part of the woman’s skirt.
The addition of the figures over floors and backgrounds already laid out in a painting or even finished, was one of the characteristics of Jacopo Tintoretto way of working, apparent in some of his works. In this case, it appears that the painter, having chosen the shape of the canvas and having started the composition, decided to add the figure of the boy on the right, an area previously only occupied by the carpet and the coats-of-arms.
The pigments, investigated in a non-invasive way using optical microscopy and reflectance spectrometry (vis-RS), show the presence of indigo, applied over a brown layer, in the dark blue of the coat-of-arms (shield) above right, while it is probable that the hanging carpet, decorated with plant motifs, contains Verdigris, which has today altered to brown. A similar problem of colour alteration, which is not infrequent in Tintoretto work, must have occurred to the mantle of God the Father, in which rare green grains are found under the microscope.
The pink robe of the God the Father, and the coat of the baby in the mother’s arms, are made with a carmine red lake, mixed with lead white or applied with a glaze. The baby’s stockings are made from vermilion.
The brown velvet of the woman’s sumptuous dress, as well as that of the pageboy’s jacket on the far right of the picture, contain an organic brown, which could be derived from the alteration of a red-brown dye.
IR reflectography show the rich decoration of the carpet hanging on the wall and other details.
ArtisteTibertelli De Pisis Bona - Bona Zim Marco Reb Henry Bos William Canal Giovanni Antonio - Canaletto Caliari Paolo - Veronese Uhl Walter Pye William Pace da Campidoglio Michelangelo - Il Campidoglio Tintoretto Domenico Benner Emmanuel Michel - Many Gay Walter Joy William Van Golden Dan Zorzo De Castelfranco Giorgio Barbarelli - Giorgione Van Neck Jan Bonichi Gino - Scipione Rul Henry Vos Maria Vecellio Tiziano - Le titien Del Re Marco De Wit Frederick Mei Paolo
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